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Sub-standard soccer action
The ISS franchise was always Konami's arcade take on the soccer genre, a sort of lesser version of the Pro Evolution Soccer series which never quite hit the same heights as its more grown-up brother. Unfortunately, this final instalment of the series goes out with a whimper rather than a bang and is rather hard to recommend to dedicated soccer fans as there are much better examples out there. On paper, it's got everything you could ask for: plenty of game types to play, from friendlies, to international cups and custom leagues, with a mission mode to add in some variety, while you can also earn points through match victories which can then be traded in for new moves, stadia and extra modes. Visually, the game is pretty decent too, if slightly unspectacular, with fast moving and reasonably animated sprites that are a little lacking in detail, while ball physics are generally pretty solid. Sound presentation too is what you'd expect with some good commentary and the usual crowd noises which add to the atmosphere and excitement. However, there are problems with the controls and this is where the game loses most of its points. It's not really suited to being played with a keyboard, with overly complicated moves that require highly frustrating finger manoeuvres to perform and which prove quite frustrating. If you can get past this quite significant issue, the game does play a fair game of soccer, but it is quite a major obstacle to surmount, so if you're looking for a great football game, stick to PES or FIFA.
The child no one really loved of late era soccer sims!
There's quite a history in the back of this game's rather poor choices. You see, if faith and history would have been kinder (and economical interests less stringent!) this game could have went on to be remembered as a classic in the Pro Evo series of soccer games. But instead, as history would have it, the game was a sort of B product, one that just had to make it to the market in time, rather than be some jewel. And thus, it is flawed and you can see how its been rushed, with smaller and bigger issues running it down all over. The most aggravating thing, however, is that this was a poor port, from the PS2 to the PC, with little modifications and little optimizations. Thus, while indeed lots of soccer games play better with a controller, this one almost needs one to be playable. Otherwise, you'll have to do all sort of acrobatics to get inside the game, with key presses that will really drive you out of your mind. Graphicaly, for a game released in 2002 it looks really behind the times, with grainy, 640x480 resolution only. I mean, sure I don't get caught on games that insist on playing in HD only, but let's not forget a simple thing, by 2000 most games, at least could handle 1024x 768. So, instead, rather go for a game of that period from the PES series, this one will just aggravate you on so many levels that it's not worth it.